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Holiday Rewards

The holidays are a great time to celebrate your employees and let them know how much you value them. Through the years, I’ve shown my appreciation for staff in a variety of ways – from handing out Christmas bonuses to throwing holiday parties.

While your approach to rewarding employees during holidays may be different from mine, I thought it might be helpful to share some lessons I’ve learned about how to most effectively thank workers for a job well done.


  • Even small gestures can make a big impact. While a lavish, catered bash sounds nice, for many shop owners, it’s simply too large a strain on the budget. When I opened my first shop, I couldn’t afford an extravagant affair, so I hosted a party at my home and provided small gifts.  It was a small celebration, but I know it left employees feeling good about their employer.  If a party is out of the question, consider sending cookies or providing gift cards to Starbucks or another retailer you know employees frequent. Even writing a note expressing your appreciation or highlighting an employee’s accomplishments in a more formal letter can mean a lot.
  • Don’t use money as the only reward. Most employees will tell you cash is king, but in reality, rewarding workers with money will give you very little bang for your buck. That’s because employees often forget about the money as soon as it’s spent. During my early years in the business, I would give certain bonuses based on performance, but I noticed the morale wouldn’t necessarily change. As they say, it was a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” When I recognized top performers with awards and plaques commemorating their accomplishments, instead, I got much better results. The plaques are something an employee can hold onto forever and the awards serve as proof of their career achievements. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to interview potential employees who list awards earned at previous employers on their resumes or provide letters of recognition they’ve received. 

Pr             Providing cash and nothing else, also sets a dangerous precedent. You risk setting up expectations among employees that you may not always be able to meet.


  • Create a criteria. Rewarding employees is essential, but make sure that you have criteria in place for measuring performance so that the process doesn’t become political. I look at specific benchmarks when evaluating staff. In addition to sales and profitability, I’ll also measure customer service, by examining the number of complaints an employee receives. Having a system in place will help eliminate any suspicions about you playing favorites.



Greg Sands is the CEO and founder of Mudlick Mail in Acworth, GA. The company provides 
demographically targeted, direct mail programs for automotive service and repair shops 
nationally. An 18-year veteran of the automotive industry, Greg also owns and operates more 
than 30 repair shops across the country. Follow Mudlick on Facebook: /www.facebook.com
mudlickmail or Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mudlickmail



  • In our shop we give a few personalized gifts -- interesting tools, a good knife, etc., plus a cash bonus that is tied to their longevity (and thus to their peformance, etc.) The personal gifts are very much appreciated!

    We also always have a lunch -- they help choose it, so they like it! Nothing fancy, but they enjoy that, too!

    Little things are most important, along with caring and appreciation.

    dnnstory, 2 years ago | Flag
  • I don't believe Christmas presents or Christmas bonus should be based on performance.  I give everyone the same thing, no matter if it is cash or tools or whatever.

    Dan at Speedy Motors


    danielbal, 2 years ago | Flag
  • WOW! You can afford to throw a party and/or give out bonuses? Are you hiring?

    hemibill, 2 years ago | Flag

Uploaded By: MudlickMail
2 years ago

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